Spent Firday night, all day Saturday, and most of the day Sunday at Seton Hall with Alan November working with their Executive Ed.D students, and as always, my head is still pretty much spinning. It’s always a treat to work with Alan, but the conversations that this particular cohort got into about the best ways to teach teachers and the ethical use of these technologies and all sorts of other ideas was really pushing my own thinking. What’s that old saying about learning by teaching? Anyway, over the next couple of days I’ll try to get to many of those conversations.

But one thing that struck us over the weekend was the lead headline in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal:
“How U.S. Auto Industry Finds Itself Stalled by Its Own History.” And there was a great subhead: “A Need to Change or Die” The article talks about how GM and Ford are struggling in most every aspect of business as they “grapple with past practices.” Here are two icons of the industrial era who are staring reinvention or expiration in the face.

Obviously, the leap to education here isn’t a big one. Imagine this headline instead: “How U.S. Education Finds Itself Stalled by Its Own History.” Here we are, faced with all sorts of new challenges, stuck in a system that seem unable or unwilling to change. We’ve mastered this assembly line method of teaching, programming all of our students in basically the same way throughout their time in school because that was the easiest way to do it. We didn’t have unlimited information or content or ideas, so we created a curriculum that suited the needs of the day. Problem is, life outside the classroom has become drastically different. Life inside hasn’t very much.

Change or die?